The St. Louis Blues are currently 5 points behind division leader, the Dallas Stars, in the Central. The Blues are weathering the storm of injuries for now, but it’s quite early in the season and the theme so far has been “next man up.”
While fringe players, and young-guns in Scott Gomez, Scottie Upshall, Martin Havlat (for 5 minutes), Magnus Paajarvi, and Jeremy Welsh, have all stepped in when opening day starters went down, it’s not a recipe for long-term success.
Yesterday, Bleedin’ Blue went through possible trade scenarios for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues need forwards. Vladimir Tarasenko cannot score 4 goals a game to keep his side in contention until the cavalry can be recalled. Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and Paul Stastny will not be back until snow has made its presence felt for weeks in America’s northeast.
In addition to those players, Jori Lehtera, Colton Parayko (an offensive-defenseman), and Steve Ott, are all experiencing injuries and have missed varying degrees of game time in recent days.
If rumors are to be believed, then Carl Gunnarsson along with Kevin Shattenkirk may be available in trade discussions. As tough as it would be to depart with Shatty, this St. Louis Blues team truly needs scoring.
Even when Stastny comes back, who knows if he’ll be able to play the rest of the season healthy? Last year, Stastny came back from his early injury only to struggle. He couldn’t make his way back as the 1st line center, and Jori Lehtera stepped up in the meantime. Now, Lehtera is also hurt, courtesy of a stick to the throat from everyone’s favorite Blue Jacket, Brandon Saad.
Any return for Gunnarsson will not provide the impact needed in the goal department. Parayko can keep the ship afloat on the defensive end if Shattenkirk is dealt.
With the Colorado Avalanche struggling mightily, I think they’ll have no choice but to part ways with top players to build for their future as a franchise. Duchene is a top line center, playing for a division rival. This isn’t a video game, and these trades require a bit more consideration than NHL 16 would have you believe.
Duchene currently sits at 15 points in 18 games for the Avs this season. He has his points evenly spread with 8 goals and 7 assists on the year. Duchene is just 24-years-old and I’m sure the Avs would be willing to listen to offers that could net them back their long-lost defenseman in Kevin Shattenkirk, perhaps along with a prospect or picks.
I’ve long been a believer in the message that the St. Louis Blues need to win this year. There is no time like the present, and with David Backes in a contract year, question marks around Ken Hitchcock’s future in the NHL, and a host of midseason and offseason moves made in the last few seasons, the team is built to win and win in a hurry.
Trading for Ryan Miller, Jaroslav Halak, Kevin Shattenkirk, and bringing in Paul Stastny, show the team needs to follow through on its investments and win multiple playoff series.
Duchene would be a tremendous upgrade to a forward corps that is decimated. Also, his help on the power play is much needed on a Blues team that ranks near the bottom of the NHL with a 15.4 PP%.
Stastny could move to the 2nd line at center when he returns, Lehtera taking over the 2nd line centering duties, which would make way for David Backes to show his skills as a 2nd or 3rd line winger. This would assume that Patrik Berglund takes over the 3rd line center role.
Would you make that trade for Matt Duchene? Or is a highly-skilled defenseman too much to give up for a proven scorer on the 1st line?